Microsoft is now receiving applications for the second batch of early-stage startups, looking to join Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure in India. Online applications will be accepted till Jan 15, 2013, and the final list of 15 startups will be announced on Feb 1. The startup accelerator programme will kick off from March 1 at Microsoft's Bangalore office.
Startups who are leveraging the cloud platform and focusing on areas like e-commerce, mobile, media, social apps, gaming, education, healthcare, big data analytics, enterprise and telecom, are eligible to apply for the four-month incubation programme.
"Starting 2013, we have decided to host two batches every year, and will also expand each batch size to 15," said Mukund Mohan, CEO-in-Residence at Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure (India). Earlier, the programme was an annual affair and only hosted 11 startups.
"The focus of the second batch will be on four primary sectors â€“ cloud infrastructure, enterprise applications, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products and mobile/consumer internet apps," he added.
The first batch of 11 startups are currently completing their third month at the accelerator. They are also preparing for the 'demo day', to be held in Jan 2013, when the startups will pitch their ideas to angel investors and venture capitalists (VCs) for funding.
Microsoft won't pick any equity stake in the selected companies. Although the tech giant does not provide funding in the form of hard cash, each startup will get $60,000 in Azure credit through the Microsoft BizSpark Plus programme. They can also leverage Microsoft products (the Metro user interface on Windows 8 and Windows Phone), tools and the cloud platform, apart from getting help from the mentors.
The mentors for the programme will include successful entrepreneurs, leading venture capitalists, and technical & business leaders in the technology space, including those from Microsoft.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)